Childhood BMI Acceleration and Sustained Obesity

Childhood BMI Acceleration and Sustained Obesity


Childhood obesity is associated
with a range of comorbidities that can lead to increased mortality in adulthood. The patterns of childhood weight gain that
contribute to sustained obesity in adolescence and adulthood are unclear. A population-based, longitudinal study, using
registry data from visits to pediatricians in Germany, tracked BMI in more than 50,000
children and the annual change in BMI in more than 30,000 children. All children had at least one visit to a pediatrician
during childhood (birth to 14 years of age) and an additional visit during adolescence (15 to 18
years of age). Retrospectively, the majority of normal weight
adolescents had had a normal weight throughout childhood. However, among obese adolescents examined prospectively, 22% were overweight and 31% were obese by 5 years of age. Almost 90% of obese three year olds remained
overweight or obese during adolescence. In overweight and obese adolescents, the strongest
acceleration in BMI per year occurred between the ages of 2 and 6 years. BMI continued to
increase after the age of 6, but at a lower rate. The authors conclude that obesity onset occurs
early in life, with the greatest excessive weight gain occurring between 2 and 6 years
of age, and that once it develops, obesity persists into adolescence. Full study results are available at NEJM.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *